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If you've never read any of Eberhard Arnold's writings before, this collection is a good choice. For those already familiar with the author, Writings might be described as the portable Arnold - a collection of the strongest and best of his prolific output.
Arnold is best known for his emphasis on living out Christ's message in community with others, but Writings shows him to be equally at home in other spheres. Whether assailing the hypocrisy of conventional church life or pointing out the pitfalls of a purely social gospel, whether celebrating the spirit of childlikeness or defending his unyielding refusal to allow that warfare can ever be just, this writer has surprises in store for even the most jaded reader.
Widely sought after as a writer and lecturer in his day, Eberhard Arnold remains largely unknown to modern readers. Small but growing numbers of readers, however, are discovering the relevance of his work to Christian discipleship, which Thomas Merton said "stirs to repentance and renewal."
Much more than a writer, philosopher, and theologian, he was loved most of all for his humility, his fatherly friendship, and his deep faith. Born in 1883 into a long line of academics, his life was hardly conventional. In a time and place where church and state were anything but separate, he threw away what might have been a brilliant career as a theologian when he left the state church at age twenty-five. By thirty-seven, he had abandoned middle-class life altogether. He spent his last fifteen years at the Bruderhof - the religious community he founded in 1920 - but remained active in traveling, lecturing and writing until his death in 1935.
Little of what he wrote is available to readers today: only a small number of the thousands of talks, essays, and letters he left behind have ever been published in English. In a certain way, however, this would cause him no dismay: especially toward the end of his life, he spoke often of his own inadequacies, pointing instead to the working of the Holy Spirit. And yet his witness, however small, cannot be left unrecognized. His insights into the human condition are as relevant today as they were in the early twenties, and his call to discipleship rings as true now as it did then.